Federer proves he is king of the court

We saw a familiar scene today, one we have seen 11 times before: Federer drops to his knees as he clinches his 12th grand slam title.  Despite being second best for much of the match, Roger Federer delivered a lesson to Novak Djokovic on how to close out a game, set and match.

The US Open final got off to a dramatic start today.  Both players managed to hold their serves, gauging each others’ state of mind and fitness until, in the 11th game when the score was 5-5, Djokovic managed to break the world no. 1 to serve for the set.  In the Serbians next service game, Federer showed why he deserves the title of the Ice-Man; when down 40-0 facing 3 set points against him, Federer produced some simple no error tennis to level the game at deuce.  With the score at deuce, Djokovic managed two more set points before the world number 1 and reigning champion converted his first break point of the set to level at 6-6 at take the set to a tie break. In the tie-break, the young Serbian appeared to be extremely frustrated; at 3-3 after losing a point he was yelling at himself and smashed his racket into the ground so hard that we could see parts of it flying off.  A double fault from Djokovic gave Federer a mini-break and took the score to 4-3 in Federers favour.  Federer then won both his service points, and although Djokovic won his next service point, yet another double fault from the Serb gave Federer the first set.

At this point we all thought that losing the first set in such a fashion would have really hurt Djokovic and allowed Federer to run away with the match.  This was not how the second set went.  Djokovic regained his composure and his first serve and through a combination of sloppy play from Federer and deft touches from Djokovic, he broke Federer in the 4th game and then moved to a 4-1 lead.  Federer though broke back in the 7th game and held serve to bring the set level at 4-4.  At this point, Djokovic did not crack has he done in the first set tie-break and in the 12th game he managed to produce some brilliance to gain 2 more set points.  Unfortunately for Djokovic the result was the same.  Was this set destined to end the same as the first?  Yes: Djokovic was crushed 7-2 in the tie break.

The fight was surely out of Djokovic now.  Would we see Federer wrap up the third set in quick time?  Well, not quite quick time.  Djokovic still managed to put up a huge fight and put himself in a position to win the set; at one point in the fifth game he had Federer down 0-40 on the Swiss’ serve.  However Federer, as cool as a cucumber, pulled it back, won the game and then went onto wrap up the match on his second match point.

The final score was 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-2), 6-4.  This score doesn’t really tell the story, and Djokovic deserved much more than to go down 3 sets to love.

The phrase that will run around in Djokovic’s head for the next few weeks will be ‘big points’.  Djokovic had the beating of Federer in all 3 sets, but when it came down to the big points, the young Serb either cracked under the pressure, or the Ice-Man produced brilliance.  Perhaps this is the one thing that separates Novak from Roger.  However I am certain that in the coming years, the young pretender will turn this around.

The president of the USTA, on presenting the trophies, summed it up prefectly:

“Roger Federer, is simply the best.”